Police officers honor fallen Region 8 officers

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

POCAHONTAS, AR (KAIT) – A class of 41 police officers graduated Friday from the Black River Technical College Police Academy.  In August they decided to dedicate their class to the two officers killed in May of this year in West Memphis.

Three months after the deadly shootings, the officers entered class knowing they were choosing a world that is very dangerous.

"I'm excited to get the education behind us and the foundation laid and go to work," said Officer Steven Payton of Pope County.

"It's one of those jobs you go to work and you come home and you feel like you've actually accomplished something and helped somebody out," said Officer Chase Campbell of the Maumelle Police Department.

While they're doing their job, any given day could change their lives forever.  Last May a police

"It kind of brings reality to what we're doing with our job and everyday we go through is not a routine," said Payton.

"It's a changing world.  It's a violent world and we feel like officer safety is one of the main concerns that these officers can have," said Carl Dyer.

Bob Paudert's son, Brandon, was one of those killed last May.  Paudert is also the Police Chief in West Memphis and since this class is dedicated to his two fallen officers he shared his thoughts with the class.  Paudert said things have changed since September 11th and are still changing.       

"I'm not trying to scare anybody.  I'm just trying to give them the facts so they'll know what they're facing before they hit the streets of this community," said Bob Paudert.

"That's all they've talked to us about is officer safety and what could happen in the line of duty.  It really brought everything home especially for a bunch of new officers like myself," said Campbell.

The empty space left behind by Officer Bill Evans and Sergeant Brandon Paudert will always be felt in West Memphis.

"It's painful being at work seeing what they did but they died heroes.  If they had to choose the way they died they died the way they would want to go doing something they loved to do," said Paudert.

Paudert said he wants to try to save lives of other officers.

"I'm even more determined now than I've ever been more passionate about saving police officers lives," said Paudert.

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